PHOENIX, Sept. 21 /PRNewswire/ — Community leaders throughout Arizona have formed a coalition called ONE Arizona, comprised of 10 diverse non-profit organizations throughout the state. The group is leading an intense voter outreach campaign aimed at demonstrating the power of the Latino voter through the ballot box now and in the future.
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“The Latino community has been stunned and galvanized by the growing anti-Latino political atmosphere in Arizona,” said Francisco Heredia, spokesperson for ONE Arizona. “With all the divisive controversy in the news about anti-Latino legislation, people tend to forget that there is a large population of United States citizens of Latino heritage who are eligible to vote.”
Over one-third of Arizonas population is Hispanic, yet Latino citizens have not made their voices heard at the ballot box in sufficient numbers to exercise political influence. Research shows that there are 480,000 Hispanics in Arizona registered to vote, accounting for only 15 percent of the voting electorate. There are another 300,000-400,000 Latinos that can legally vote, but have not registered to vote in Arizonas elections.
ONE Arizona aims to remedy that discrepancy with an aggressive campaign to turn out tens of thousands of Latino voters in November. Volunteers will be knocking on doors, making phone calls, sending e-mails and text messages, and staging rallies to get Latinos to register and to vote.
“Latinos tell us they are frustrated with the laws passed by the Arizona Legislature during the past decade,” says Heredia, who is also Arizona state director for Mi Familia Vota, a ONE Arizona partner. “Laws like S.B. 1070 and the recent banning of Chicano studies in Tucson would suggest that Latinos in Arizona are being targeted. If Latinos want to shape Arizonas political landscape, they need to register to vote, sign up for the early vote-by-mail list and vote in the November general election and in the years to come.”
To aid in their voter outreach efforts, ONE Arizona is launching www.onearizona.org, an interactive Web site that informs and engages visitors. Individuals may visit the site to register to vote, sign-up for the permanent vote-by-mail list online and find important voter information.
Also posted on the site are videos featuring members of the Arizona Latino community. These everyday Latino residents recorded one-minute interviews in English and Spanish explaining why they vote. Individuals include students, young business professionals, small business owners, community activists and long-time Arizona residents. Visitors may upload their own videos for posting on the site.
“Arizona Latinos are working hard to support their families and have not always found the time to participate in political activities,” said Jennifer Allen, coalition spokesperson and executive director of Border Action Network, also a ONE Arizona partner.
“Latino leaders are encouraging citizens to look beyond their families and jobs toward unifying an influential political community that can improve the lives of all Arizonans.”
The ONE Arizona membership includes Arizona Advocacy Network Foundation, Arizona Center for Empowerment, Border Action Network, Democracia USA, Mi Familia Vota Education Fund, Southwest Conference of the United Church of Christ, Protecting Arizonas Family Coalition Educational Fund, Promise Arizona, Central Arizonans for a Sustainable Economy, and Tonatierra Community Development Institute.
The coalition was launched in June and has been organizing its grassroots voter registration drive during the past three months. Special emphasis is being placed on enrolling Latino citizens in the permanent early voting list, thus encouraging sustained participation in elections through the years.
ONE Arizona is working with these important dates in mind leading up to the November elections:
— Oct. 4 at midnight – Deadline to register to vote in the November 2 election
— Oct. 7 – Early voting begins
— Oct. 21 – Deadline to register for the permanent vote-by-mail list
— Nov. 2 – General Election in Arizona
“The November general election is one of the most important in Arizonas history,” says Allen. “The actions we take now can help shape Arizona, through the right to vote, into a state that nurtures pride and empowerment in all our states diverse cultures.”
ONE Arizona is a non-partisan partnership dedicated to voter registration to bring about full electoral participation by the Latino Community. The ONE Arizona membership includes Arizona Advocacy Network Foundation, Arizona Center for Empowerment, Border Action Network, Democracia USA, Mi Familia Vota Education Fund, Southwest Conference of the United Church of Christ, Protecting Arizonas Family Coalition Educational Fund, Promise Arizona, Central Arizonans for a Sustainable Economy, and Tonatierra Community Development Institute. Each of the ONE Arizona partners plays an integral role in Arizonas Latino communities by motivating civic engagement, education efforts, encouraging self-sufficiency and building political influence. For more information, visit www.onearizona.org.
SOURCE ONE Arizona